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About Mobile Application Usability Design

(Please preview in full screen, thanks you) A research about mobile application usabilty design. Enjoy it. =) BY STEVE NG FON HOE

steve fon hoe

on 20 January 2015

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Transcript of About Mobile Application Usability Design

Mobile application is begin popular in market nowadays, some of the application can even achieves high population example like angry bird but some may not. Before that, we have to understand how to develop a great user interface and design to attract user play with our mobile application.

About Mobile Application
Usability Design

by Ng Fon Hoe
Research Question
I have come through few question to help me in research:
Therefore, I would like to focus in mobile usability of design and content in this research study to help my future project.
1.What is Mobile Application and usability?
2.Why usability design is important for mobile application?
3.Mobile application or mobile web better?what the difference?
4.Who can help to improve the usability of design and user interface for mobile application?
" Let's see what I found "
What is Mobile Application?
Mobile Application is a software that run in device such like smartphone and tablet. It need to be download and install in a device to operates and make use of a device features.
Example like if we get attachment from our mailbox, once we download it on our hard disk, it will be available in anytime when we need it. Mobile application just a similar type of it which it only need to store in a device such like smartphone and tablet. (Peggy Anne Salz et al , 2013)
Type of Mobile Application
According to Peggy Anne Salz mention in The Everything Guide to Mobile App 2013, there are few type of mobile application:

1. Mobile Web App
Similar like website which just convert the content of website to be fit in a device to viewed.
"Mobile Web is not better than mobile app, It depends on what you going to achieve"
2. Native App
It can be access without web connection but you will need to keep develop and make it better.
3.The Difference between Native App and Web App
Do you see the difference on it?
The bottom bar of native app have it own style and navigation button which separate from the content but the web app is just a converted type from normal website which the button still together with the content.
What is Usability?
"Usability is the quality attribute that determine how easy the user interface are use. It refer to ease-of-use for design process."

King of usability - Jakob Nielson,2012
"Usability is define as the capability of product to be understand and attractive to user which to achieve effectiveness and efficiency in specific environment."
Hornbeak and Lai-Choong, 2007
"A product usability is determined by the user base of the quality of ease-of-use for the product. How the product intuitiveness by the user."
Carol M. Barnum, 2002
Base on 3 of the articles, we can know that usability design is focus on design a ease-of-use interface to mobile user which help user easily to understand, learn, and use our mobile application easily.
5 quality components that
define usability
1. Learnability
The application should be easy to learn so that user can do something on it.
User can achieve high productivity from mobile application once they get learned.
3. Memorability
Mobile application should let user easy to remember and use so user wont be repeat to learn again next time.
Mobile application should be low error rate to avoid user confuse in using.
Depend on the target user and make sure our mobile application fulfill their subjective satisfied.
This is the 5 components of usability identify by Jakob Nielson to explain about what usability should be.
Now I come to understand usability, but why it so importance to mobile application?
Why Usability is importance?
"On the web,usability is a necessary condition for survive. If website difficult to use, people LEAVE. If homepage fail to state what user can do, people LEAVE. If a website content hard to read such like manual book, poeple LEAVE."

Jakob Nielson, 2013
Jakob Nielson has explained the habit of user. Example like myself, if a mobile application is hard to use and confuse content, I bet myself won't go for the application second time. That why usability is importance for mobile application, if we create something without user, what it use for?
Video Section
by Andrea Kravetz
What is Usability and why usability is so importance?
This video have describe about what is usability and how importance is it.
"Usability apply everything, not just online product or technical product. We encounter usability every single day." Say by her at 1.47 min of the video.

Here has prove that how usability is importance for us in daily life and not just for mobile application only.

Mobile App or Mobile Web better?
Peggy Anne Salz et al,2013 which I mention in the early say that "mobile web is not better than mobile app".
I wonder why? and Here I find some result from usability testing done by Jakob Nielson to prove what Peggy Anne Salz said.
In the early begin...
The result of Mobile Web VS Full Website
Mobile Web
Full Website
From the result of Jakob Nielson usability testing, it has prove that mobile web is better than full website.

But do you know what Jakob Nielson found in this usability testing?
What Jakob Nielsen and Raluca Budiu found?
User face 4 major usability problem from mobile web
Mobile Phone with Small Screen, it limited space and interaction of using an application.
Multiply Touching, it mean user have to use the phone without any external mouse and keyboard.
Delay reading any article because it have to depend on the internet connection speed.
Miss design website, it make the website very mercy and not able to function sometime.
Example of Miss Design site - http://www.tgv.com.my/
Mobile Web
Full Website
"Mobile Usability Is hard"
This is what Nielsen and Raluca say in their journal about Mobile web usability because it not able to display full website in a mobile which including content and graphic.
Compuware's survey found that user prefer mobile app than mobile have reach as high as....
“As of this writing, there's no contest: ship mobile apps if you can afford it. Our usability studies with mobile devices clearly show that users perform better with apps than with mobile sites. (Mobile sites have higher measured usability than desktop/full sites when used on a phone, but mobile apps score even higher.)”
Besides that...
Jakob Nielsen 2012
At here we have come through see how Nielson talk usability about mobile web and mobile app compare in the early beginning. The quotes from Nielsen in 2012 have agree that usability of mobile app is better than mobile website and full website, just like what Peggy Anne Salz said and Compuware's survey who agree this after Nielsen.
Multi platform
Advantage in all capability in all device.
Easy get from app store.
Can use in offline after downloaded.
Can merge with multi function such like camera and location services.
"version" of website.
Difference code and screen size for all device.
No available in app store.
Cannot use after offline.
Cheapest but have more corruption such like html5 does not support by most of the mobile.
Now We Understand what going on in Mobile Application and Mobile Web...
We should think who can help to improve the usability of design for mobile application.
Who Will Be Them?
1. John Meada
2. Donald Nomand
3. Peggy Anne Salz et al
4. Carol M.Barnum
5. Jakob Nielson
Here have show why Nielsen say mobile application is better than mobile web.
Jakob Nielson. (2012), Usability 101: Introduction to Usability. Available from <http://www.nngroup.com/articles/usability-101-introduction-to-usability/> [20 June 2013]
To know more about introduction for usability:
Raluca Budiu and Jakob Nielsen. (n.d.) Usability of Mobile Websites. Available from <http://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/ucomm/docs/mobile/mobile-usability_highlighted.pdf>[16th May 2013]
To read more about this journal at:
Jakob Nielson have make a usability testing about mobile web and full website.
David Moth. (2013) 85% Consumers Favor Apps Over Mobile Websites[online]. Available from <http://econsultancy.com/my/blog/62326-85-of-consumers-favour-apps-over-mobile-websites>[Accessed: 16th May 2013]
To read more about Compuware's Survey at:
John Meada
1. The Law of Simplicity
According to John Meada mention in The Law of simplicity, simplicity design have become a trend in marketplace too.

He say "Citibank has a "simplicity" credit card, Ford has "keep it simple pricing" and Lexmark vows to "uncomplicated" to the consumer experiences... Imagine software company try to simplified their program every year with more feature but cost more, in the same time consumer have to get less and pay more."
Why don't we try to do something simple and comfortable to fulfill consumer need so that we can avoid any confusion from consumer in the same time we can get less error and trouble from usability design which is also an "earning" for us.
John Meada,2006
Besides that...
John Meada have list two example trend of success simplicity design product which are:
"Simple doesn't mean minimal. Stripped-down designs can still have their own character and personality." (Giles Colborne,2010)
Google Search Engine
"People not only buy, but more importantly love, design that can make their lives simpler." (John Meada,2006)
It explained that user not only want to buy the product, but they want the product which can help them make their live more simple and easy. As well as design too. Same with mobile application, user only want apps that can entertain them, guide them or help them. They won't choose some app that make them confuse or trouble.
10 Law of simplicity
So what is this?
This is the 10 law of simplicity list by John Meada
- The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.
- Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.
- Savings in time feel like simplicity
- Knowledge makes everything simpler.
- Simplicity and complexity need each other
- What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral..
- More emotions are better than less
- In simplicity we trust.
- Some things can never be made simple.
The one
- Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.
For more about 10 law of simplicity:
John Meada (n.d.) The Law of Simplicity [online] Available through <http://www.ems.ucsb.edu/people/rightmire/ling1/John_Maeda.pdf> [Accessed: 17th May 2013]
3 Keys to become simplicity
- More appear like less by simply moving it far,far way.
- Openness simplifies complexity.
- Use less, gain more.
With this 10 law and 3 key of simplicity, I believe that can produce a better design and content in mobile application due mobile application have the limited space which I think simplicity design can help to improve usability in mobile application.
2. 6 Design Principles for usability
Donald Norman
1. Consistence the pattern of design
2. Make your functionality visibility
3. Accordance the user interface
4. Clean Mapping to lead user
5. Feedback function for user
6. Constraint
For more information:
Kelvin Matz. (2012) Donald Norman's Design Principle of Usability [online]Available through <http://architectingusability.com/2012/06/28/donald-normans-design-principles-for-usability/>[Accessed: 17th May 2013]
3. Design For Simplicity
Peggy Anne Salz
"Don't try to design UI until the functionality and flow are clearly defined. If not you will just waste time to redesign again and again" (Peggy Anne Salz, 2013)
How to keep your UI simple?
Avoid cluttering up the view
- An app will have a lot of functionally, user doesn't not like to use them all in once, remember to separate your functionality.
Guide the user through a flow
- Remember no to show unnecessary function in current page, user doesn't like it. Only show them the function they need to action in the current page.
Avoid the use of text
- Try to avoid as much as word you can. If there can replace by an image, then replace it. Remember mobile screen have limitation, just try to not use text to present what you going to show.
Just because you can, doesn't mean you should
- Try to no apply something you feel it "cool" because some user will feel it annoying and stop using your app.
Be Consistence
- Use the similar design, example like if you show user a keyboard, make sure you have the same design for the keyboard in another place which also show user a keyboard.
Consider Context and Usage
- If you have small context in your app, you must have the fastest load to let user read your information. In another way, if you have small context in the app and use long time to load the information, it will be an fail or bad usability app.
From what I learn in Peggy Anne Salz is how to design an good usability mobile application to user and those requirement must be counted in to avoid any bad usability such like unwanted design or button in non-related pages.
4. Usability Heuristics for the Web
Carol M.Barnum
Respect for users and their skills
- Does the website enhance their skill and knowledge?
Pleasurable and respectful interaction
- Does the website able to navigate the user? are the design is pleasing for user?
Quality of work
- Does the user able to produce output? Does your website have any objective?
- Does the website able to protect user personal information? Does the website always in hacking status?
Readability and legibility
- Does the text and information able to lead and read by user?
Information structure
- Does your website flow can guide user?
Even this is talking about heuristics for website, but I think
is useful for mobile application also. If a mobile application
does not have this 6 heuristics, it wont be able to use by
user also.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
5. Mistake in Design Application
Jakob Nielsen
"Here's my list of 10 usability violations that are both particularly egregious and often seen in a wide variety of applications." (Jakob Nielsen,2008)
Non-standard UI control
- Make your UI design consistence.
- Same as Peggy Anne Salz, use the same name for same thing in same place. So we can use in another place when needed.
No Perceived Affordance
No Feedback
- Same as Donald Norman, feedback is a place to improve our thing which can collect comment by user.
Bad Error Message
Ask the same thing twice
- User doesn't not like an application ask the thing again and again.
No Default Value
Dumping User into App
Not indicating How Info Will be Use
- User cannot feel any safety since we doesn't not mention what we going to use for their personal information.
System-Centric Features
The reason I research about mistake from Jakob Nielsen because he always touch with usability testing and understand what normally people did mistake in usability design.

Besides that, I also can understand which part I should take care when I design an app or user interface. In the same time, I found that even Jakob Nielsen is talking about mistake, but it still similar with what other article say in the previous such like Peggy Anne Salz.
Usability design of mobile application are linked with everything such like content and design. Besides that, the research content I found are not just can use in mobile field but it also can use in website or other field.
Usability design have a very huge range to search because everyone have the difference comment about usability, but we still need to go on for it to find a better way to perform our idea and design to user.
"Usability has become a "core competency that is necessary for business survival". (Jakob Nielsen,n.d) I not agree it only important for business because usability nowadays is important to everything. People nowadays like ease-to-use product everyday even just a tiny thing in the world.
Future Exploration
In the future, I will continues research in usability design. It doesn't matter in any field because if without usability design, user or consumer won't use it.

Besides that, I will also start to research idea development and context for mobile application for my incoming project.

1. Peggy Anne Salz and Jennifer Moranz. (2013), The Everything Guide to Mobile Application, U,s,A, Adams Media.
2. John Meada. (2006), The Law of Simplicity, U.S.A, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
3.Carol M.Barnum. (2002), Usability Testing and Research, U.S.A, Pearson Education, Inc.
1. Raluca Budiu and Jakob Nielsen. (n.d.) Usability of Mobile Websites. [online]
Maidenhead : Nielson Norman Group
Available through: http://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/ucomm/docs/mobile/mobile-usability_highlighted.pdf
[Accessed: 16th May 2013]
2. John Meada (n.d.) The Law of Simplicity [online]
Available through: http://www.ems.ucsb.edu/people/rightmire/ling1/John_Maeda.pdf
[Accessed: 17th May 2013]
3. Jakob Nielsen and Raluca Budiu. (2012) Mobile Usability. [online]
Maidenhead: Nielsen Norman Group
Available through : http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=IQnThT4vkAoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=usability+mobile+application+jakob&hl=en&sa=X&ei=8YHFUe-uDcSl0wXJroCwAg&ved=0CDcQ6AEwAA
[Accesed: 18th June 2013]
4. Simple and Usable Web, Mobile and Interaction Design [online]
Available through: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=q7dgT6mw1AoC&printsec=frontcover&dq=mobile+usability&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tPzFUZOTGcin0wXC2YCICA&ved=0CEoQ6AEwAw
[Accessed: 21th June 2013]
Internet and Others
1. Jakob Nielsen. (2008) Top 10 Application Design Mistake [online]
Available at: http://www.nngroup.com/articles/top-10-application-design-mistakes/
[Accessed: 11th May 2013]
2. Drew McManus. (2011) Understanding The Difference Between Apps and Mobile Website[online]
Available at: http://www.adaptistration.com/blog/2011/07/22/understanding-the-difference-between-apps-and-mobile-websites/
[Accessed: 15th May 2013]
3. Digitalsurgeons. (2011) Mobile App or Mobile Website? A look at Pros and Cons [online]
Available at: http://www.digitalsurgeons.com/blog/mobile-app-or-mobile-web-site-the-pros-and-cons/
[Accessed: 16th May 2013]
4. David Moth. (2013) 85% Consumers Favour Apps Over Mobile Websites[online]
Available at: http://econsultancy.com/my/blog/62326-85-of-consumers-favour-apps-over-mobile-websites
[Accessed: 16th May 2013]
5. Kelvin Matz. (2012) Donald Norman's Design Principle of Usability [online]
Available at: http://architectingusability.com/2012/06/28/donald-normans-design-principles-for-usability/
[Accessed: 17th May 2013]
6. Rosnita Baharuddin et al. (2013) Usability Dimensions for Mobile Application [online]
Available at: http://maxwellsci.com/print/rjaset/v5-2225-2231.pdf
[Accessed: 18th June 2013]
7. Jakob Nielsen, (2012) Usability 101:Introduction to Usability [online]
Available at: http://www.nngroup.com/articles/usability-101-introduction-to-usability/
[Accessed: 20th June 2013]
Full transcript